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Expeditions

Alaska

Experience the rugged landscape of ‘The Last Frontier’, from its scenery and rich culture to its impressive variety of wildlife.

See all expedition cruises

Alaska

Experience the rugged landscape of ‘The Last Frontier’, from its scenery and rich culture to its impressive variety of wildlife.

See all expedition cruises
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Cruising to Alaska with Hurtigruten

Alaska is a land framed by vast forestland and towering mountain ranges—a true place of breathtaking beauty. Keep an eye out for eagles and bears while exploring the varied landscape in a kayak or on a hike, and experience Alaska’s unique culture through town walks.

Hurtigruten is the ideal choice to actively explore the wild frontier of Alaska. Our small expedition ships allow us to discover places off the beaten track, as well as the colorful historic towns and indigenous communities along this rugged and varied shoreline. 

Explore majestic fjords, bays, rainforests, and glaciers on our small boats (RIBs), accompanied by our Expedition Team, who will share their knowledge about the history and wildlife of the places you visit. Enjoy unforgettable experiences on included activities and optional shore excursions exploring Alaska’s diverse nature, cultures, history, and people.

Alaska: Travel Guide
  • Humpback whale, Prince William Sound Alaska
  • Icy Strait Point, Hoonah, Alaska
  • Ketchikan, Alaska
  • College Sound, Alaska
  • Ketchikan, Alaska

Photo: Shutterstock

Reasons to Cruise to Alaska

Alaska is a destination for true explorers. With immense glaciers, deep fjords, and vast stretches of wilderness, its scenery alone is sure to impress you. See remains of the Gold Rush era in the fishing villages, abandoned towns, and bustling harbor towns we visit.

Alaskan waters are teeming with life. You might see whales, porpoises, dolphins, or even large colonies of sea lions. On land, look for moose and caribou wandering the forests and brown bears fishing for salmon in the rivers. Birders, get your binoculars ready to spot the many rare species that call Alaska home.

Reasons to Cruise to Alaska

Alaska is a destination for true explorers. With immense glaciers, deep fjords, and vast stretches of wilderness, its scenery alone is sure to impress you. See remains of the Gold Rush era in the fishing villages, abandoned towns, and bustling harbor towns we visit.

Alaskan waters are teeming with life. You might see whales, porpoises, dolphins, or even large colonies of sea lions. On land, look for moose and caribou wandering the forests and brown bears fishing for salmon in the rivers. Birders, get your binoculars ready to spot the many rare species that call Alaska home.

Rich history

Alaska is also a great place for history buffs. The history of the area is well-documented by its artifacts. The people who live here are proud of their collective heritage and are more than willing to share it with you.

Since the most recent Ice Age, humans have inhabited the Aleutian Islands, other islands in the Bering Sea, and parts of western Alaska. These communities share a common heritage and reliance on the northern part of the Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea. Each community, however, holds its own unique traditions. Alaska's Inside Passage is home to the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian people, whose history is reflected in towering totem poles. Alaska also has a higher concentration of indigenous people than any other state, at more than 14% of the population..

Russian settlers left a legacy of onion-domed churches gleaming with icons. In 1867, Russia agreed to sell Alaska to the United States for $7.2 million. This amounted to about two cents an acre.

Bear Country

Alaska really is ‘bear country’. Every species of North American bear flourishes here: grizzly, brown, and black bears. Polar bears roam in the north. The brown bear is common in the coastal areas, and in the interior they are called grizzly bears. They are huge and can weigh from 800 to 1,200 pounds. Black bears are abundant, with 100,000 estimated to inhabit Alaska.

Alaska is the largest state in the United States in terms of area, but its population is only just over 700,000. If New York City had the same population density as Alaska, there would only be 28 people there!

Adventure

It wouldn’t be a true adventure if it was completely predictable. Your safety is of the utmost importance to us, so the captain and Expedition Team will continuously assess the weather and ice conditions and determine which landings are safe to make.

When visiting Katmai National Park, for example, we’ll choose between visiting Kinak Bay, Kunak Bay, and Geographic Harbor. We may even visit two, or even all three, time and weather permitting. Whatever places you are able to visit, we know you’ll have the adventure of a lifetime.

Cruises

Wildlife in Alaska

Nicknamed the ‘Last Frontier’ for its rugged landscape, Alaska is a wild paradise. It offers its visitors breathtaking views and diverse habitats for its wildlife. Bears fish for salmon in the rivers while deer wander the forests and golden eagles swoop above the plains.

Wildlife in Alaska

Nicknamed the ‘Last Frontier’ for its rugged landscape, Alaska is a wild paradise. It offers its visitors breathtaking views and diverse habitats for its wildlife. Bears fish for salmon in the rivers while deer wander the forests and golden eagles swoop above the plains.

Fish

Five species of Pacific salmon swim through Alaskan waters: pink, silver, king, sockeye, and chum. Every summer, the salmon swim upstream to spawn. This annual event is eagerly awaited by many locals, including the salmon’s predators: grizzly bears and bald eagles.

Bears

Grizzly bears are common in western Alaska and strike fear into the hearts of spawning salmon. Besides the inland grizzlies, you might also see the coastal brown bears and their smaller relative, the black bear. Even polar bears wander among the glaciers in the northern region.

Arctic Foxes

These little creatures are common in the tundra and Alaska’s treeless coastal areas. They grow to around two feet tall and eat pretty much anything they can find, often feeding on rodents and other small mammals, and even eating food left over from larger predators.

Activities in Alaska

Keep active in Alaska by hiking or kayaking in the fjords. Immersed in nature, keep an eye out for bears, sea otters, whales, and eagles. Expedition Team members host lectures and guide you on visits to remote communities and historic towns, sharing Alaska’s fascinating history and wildlife.

Our landings and activities help you connect with the places you see. The town tours and visits to UNESCO World Heritage Sites enlighten you on the history and culture of the Alaskan people. And wildlife lovers are sure to enjoy exploring Alaska’s national parks while watching for birds, whales, and bears.

Activities in Alaska

Keep active in Alaska by hiking or kayaking in the fjords. Immersed in nature, keep an eye out for bears, sea otters, whales, and eagles. Expedition Team members host lectures and guide you on visits to remote communities and historic towns, sharing Alaska’s fascinating history and wildlife.

Our landings and activities help you connect with the places you see. The town tours and visits to UNESCO World Heritage Sites enlighten you on the history and culture of the Alaskan people. And wildlife lovers are sure to enjoy exploring Alaska’s national parks while watching for birds, whales, and bears.

Wildlife watching

Alaska’s woodlands are home to caribou, moose, and over 70% of North America’s brown bear population. Many rare birds can be easily spotted in Alaska. The annual salmon run is eagerly awaited by tourists and locals alike, as well as bears and bald eagles.

Kayaking*

Glide quietly through the water and experience Alaska’s majestic nature up close. Paddle ocean passages, iceberg lagoons, or the calm waters of Alaska’s coastal areas with an experienced guide.

* Please note that this is an optional activity and additional cost applies.

Hiking*

The Expedition Team guides hikes to viewpoints and sites of interest such as Point Adolphus, an area famous for its humpback whales. They pick some of the most scenic spots around for you to enjoy.

Photo Program

This included program is designed for photographers of all skill levels, giving you tips that help you better capture Alaska’s spectacular landscapes and wildlife. You may also have an opportunity to join a more intensive one to two-hour Photo Adventures* session.

* Please note that this is an optional activity and additional cost applies

Small-boat (RIB) cruising

Even though your expedition ship is small, there are limits on where it can go due to its size. This is where our small boats (RIBs) come in. Enjoy cruising through the the water and taking in the stunning views of places such as College Fjord and Katmai National Park.

Shore Excursions*

Optional excursions offer special experiences that bring you even closer to the places we visit. These range from wildlife safaris and fishing excursions to visits to UNESCO World Heritage Sites and national parks.

* Please note that this is an optional activity and additional cost applies.

Landings

Whenever weather and sea conditions allow, we will attempt landings in small boats (RIBs). Landing sites may include the picturesque Geographic Harbor or Kukak Bay, a place perfect for bear spotting. Once ashore, the Expedition Team will guide you on where to go and ensure that you are safe at all times.

Town Walks

From Gold Rush towns such as Nome and Wrangell to Russia’s former Alaskan capital of Sitka, the places you’ll visit have a rich history. Haines is historic for being the home of the indigenous Chilkat Tlingit people, while Petersburg is known as ‘Little Norway’ for its proud Nordic heritage.

Science Center

The microscopes and other high-tech equipment here allow for hands-on demonstrations and workshops, deepening your understanding of the places we visit. Participate in Citizen Science projects, which contribute to current scientific research projects.

Lectures and Talks

Both on and off the ship, members of our Expedition Team give in-depth lectures on a variety of topics to enhance your expedition experience. The subjects chosen are specific to your destination and cover Alaska’s history, culture, and wildlife.

Adventure Green Alaska

Adventure Green Alaska (AGA) is a certification program that defines sustainable tourism as travel to natural areas that benefits local economies, respects the environment, and is sensitive to indigenous cultures.

Hurtigruten is so proud to be among other great organizations that have this critical distinction when operating in Alaska, and this distinction reinforces Hurtigruten’s core values and our dedication to being a leader in working to sustain natural and cultural resources in all the remote, fragile places in which we sail.

To be clear, traveling with Hurtigruten to Alaska is a much different proposition than sailing on the big white ships. Traveling with sustainability makes all the difference in protecting this last frontier environmentally, economically, culturally, and socially.

Learn more
  • Homer-Alaska

Photo: Shutterstock

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